Pirelli Chooses Atlanta for New Headquarters

Company signs five-year R&D agreement with Georgia Tech

Officials of Italian-based Pirelli and the Georgia Institute of Technology have signed a five-year strategic research and development partnership to develop new optical components and systems and new broadband access technologies for future high-speed telecommunications networks. The agreement was announced Sept. 22 by Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, representatives of the company and Georgia Tech officials.

Pirelli and researchers from the Georgia Electronic Design Center (GEDC) at Georgia Tech will develop a new generation of integrated optical systems. Atlanta will become the North American operational branch of Pirelli Labs, the advanced research center of the group based in Milan. The group, founded in 2001, specializes in broadband access and second generation photonics.

Pirelli will also consolidate all of its North American corporate staff activities in the new Atlanta center, including the headquarters of Pirelli Broadband Solutions, a new company that engineers and markets the innovations conceived in Pirelli Labs. This alliance will help position Georgia to become a world-class center of research excellence in photonics and broadband technologies.

"Pirelli already has a great history here in Georgia, with tire facilities in Rome," said Governor Perdue. "I am very proud that this great company has chosen Georgia for its new North American headquarters location and as the home of the new company: Pirelli Broadband Solutions. Pirelli's selection of Georgia as its new home for the broadband business was driven by the value of proximity to Georgia Tech's Electronic Design Center (GEDC), which is recognized worldwide as the leading academic research laboratory in high-speed communications electronics."

Under the agreement, visiting researchers from both organizations will work in Georgia Tech laboratories -- and in the clean rooms of Pirelli Labs near Milan. There, advanced facilities devoted to research and development of optical components for telecommunications occupy about 54,000 square feet in the Pirelli Labs building.

Pirelli's location in Atlanta will initially include laboratory space at the GEDC in the Technology Square Research Building at Georgia Tech, as well as additional headquarters office space next door in the Centergy One building. Pirelli's initial team will consist of executive, engineering, scientific, marketing and sales professionals.

"We are excited at the reception we have received in Georgia and the cooperation at all levels from the governor, his staff and the University System of Georgia," said Kevin Riddett, president and chief executive officer of Pirelli North America, Inc.

Added Giorgio Grasso, CEO of Pirelli Labs Optical Innovation: "By combining the respective know-how, Pirelli Labs and Georgia Tech will be able to develop new cutting-edge broadband access and optical technologies for the North American market. We view our partnership with GEDC as a major strategic asset in our future broadband activities."

Pirelli, a pioneer in photonics worldwide, is among the world's leaders and innovators in a number of fields, including its key markets of tires and telecommunications systems.

"Today's announcement indicates that we are making great progress in establishing Georgia as a hot spot in the world of electronic design," said Craig Lesser, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. "We set out to make Georgia a world leader in the design of high-speed communications systems, devices and chips, and Pirelli's location here takes us one step closer to achieving that vision."

The Pirelli decision demonstrates the impact that Georgia Tech can have on the state's economy, noted Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough.

"We are excited that an innovative company like Pirelli has chosen to locate at Technology Square in partnership with GDEC," said Clough. "This outcome reflects the power of linking Georgia Tech's research and educational assets with those of the state of Georgia to help build the state technology sector in a time when competition for such jobs comes not only from other states, but other nations as well."

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Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail: (john.toon@edi.gatech.edu).